Reviewed By Lucy Campbell

When American pulp fiction journalist Juliette (Patricia Clarkson) travels to Cairo to meet her UN jetbug husband Mark (virtually-no-screen-time Tom McCamus) she ends up stranded in the city with Mark’s friend and local, Tareq (Alexander Siddig). Of course, Juliette and Tareq grow close through a mutual loneliness and embark on an emotional affair. And all in all, it’s a terribly dull film that plods along with lingering gazes, conversations and scenery, and garners the rather dubious title of the dullest opening ten minutes in film.

Patricia Clarkson’s notorious monotone and ‘subtle gazes of love’ (that in the real world would make you think she was either a couple of bob short of a dollar or taking the mickey) make the film feel like it is literally in slow motion, and Juliette and Tareq’s love affair has no spark, no tension, little humour and is ultimately unsatisfying. Neither the main characters have any charm that sets them apart from a cliche: the lonely Westerner meets handsome Easterner in a series of long conversations resulting in wan gazes into the middle distance.

The few themes that ‘Cairo Time’ attempts to explore are sketches to say the least, which seems odd considering there’s little storyline to dominate screentime, and issues such as the contrast of Eastern and Western cultures, poverty, loneliness, isolation and the transition between the old Cairo and the new, are splashed about at the shallow end of the paddling pool: revealing little, explaining none.

Somehow, even the cinematography, beautiful though it is, struggles to illuminate anything other than a travel documentary, and leaves you feeling hollow. For writer/director Rubba Nadda, ‘Cairo Time’ a disappointing offering that fails to enchant beyond a postcard.

Kryztoff Rating   2K